Sunday: Cromwell Cup

Weather:  misty rain.  Temp around 65F.  Light winds.  Flat water, except for some launch wakes.

I got to Riverside around 6am.  I unloaded and parked my car close by.  I was all settled in time for the 6:20 racers meeting.  Then I waited around to launch.  My start was at 8:43, so I launched just after 8AM, and made my way up river to the warmup area above the start.  I did a version of my normal warmup with increasing rates, and then did some starts.  The first couple were pretty horrid, but I settled down and eventually shook off the nervousness.  Then it was pretty much OK.

Were called to the line 5 minutes before our start and lined up across the river.  No bouys marking lanes or the start line.  There was just a tent on the shore and a person with a megaphone calling alignment.  As soon as she called it aligned, the starter on the launch behind us called out.  “This is the start.  Ready.  Attention.  Row!”  I’m very glad that I setup at the catch when alignment was called, because there was no screwing around on this one.

My start was clean, but uninspired.  I was in lane 2, which share the center span of the two bridges with lane 3.  I was side by side with the guy in lane 3 through the first bridge and there was only about 5 m between us.  It was exciting stuff, but he was faster than I was and I was flying and dying trying to stay side by side with him.  After the first bridge, I settled in at about r30 and just tried to hold on to some semblance of technique.  The launch was aggressively calling steering commands to all of us, and I found it a bit disruptive.  I lost stroke count a couple of times because I was trying to listen, steer, watch the pace, count and row cleanly.  But the main thing was that I had gone out too hard and I was paying the price now.

The second bridge is only about 300m away from the first, but I felt like time was passing in slow motion.  That’s what happens to me when I don’t have a good stroke count to keep me centered.  I went under the second bridge, finally, and looked at Crewnerd.  Crewnerd told me I had 350m left to go.  In my head, I translated that to another forty strokes.  Two sets of 20.  I can do that.  I started pushing the pace again and got through 20 strokes.  At this point, I got some more steering suggestions.  I had drifted over into lane 1, by the docks of the Riverside Boathouse.  I took a couple of hard port strokes, and then counted out the remaining 20 strokes to the finish, but no beep!  I kept on going for a couple more strokes and the finish horn finally went off.  I was massively disappointed with my time, 4:01.3.    I finished 3rd in my 4 person race.

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Here are the results of the other heat.

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After the finish, I rowed down to the BU bridge for a cool down, and that was it for the day.

Here’s the whole row.  The race was from LAP002 to LAP003.

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Here’s a zoomed view of my course.  You can see that my steering was way less than ideal.  I started off going toward lane 1, eventually got my point on the bridge and went through it side by side with the guy in lane 3.  After that bridge, I veered away from him, but it looks like my course was reasonably straight toward the second bridge.  Coming out of the second bridge, I started veering toward lane3, and was pointed back by the launch following us.  I guess I must have overcorrected because you can see how I drifted out into lane 1.  The guy in lane 1 was well behind at this point, so there was no interference,  but I added some extra distance and slowed myself down to steer at the end.

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Here’s pace, spm and heart rate.

Here’s a zoomed view of the race.


I covered an extra 10-20 meters over the 1k due to my lousy steering.  The slow down at the end was me steering back to lane 2 away from the dock.





So, what am I to make of this race.

  • The pace that I managed was what I should have been expecting based on the prep work I had been doing.  I was doing an all out 500m at a 1:55 pace, so a 1K should have been between 1:58 and 1:59.
  • My steering was bad.  I think that was mainly because I have been trying to make up for a lack of good specific preparation by trying to push very close to my limits.  Last year, I was very disciplined about looking every ten strokes and it was a better race.
  • With regard to race specific training.  Between my travel schedule, my lack of a boat until a month ago, and not having a good specific training plan, I was not well prepared for this race.  I did enough training on starts, but I did not do enough heavy lifting.  I needed more 4x1Ks, 6x750s and 8 x 500s.
  • My base fitness isn’t as good as it has been either.  My 2mmol power is around 185w right now on the erg.  I think last year it would have been about 10 watts higher.  That’s about 4 seconds on pace, and I think it made a big difference in the second half of the race.

Based on all of that, I did as well as I should have expected.  And I’m fine with that.  Honestly, I’m not completely fine with it, but I understand it, and I will use it to define my training from here on out.

Now I set my sights on head racing season.  Here’s a preliminary race schedule.

  • Sept 17: CRI Fall classic (5K)
  • Oct 2: Textile River Regatta (6K)
  • Oct 9: Quinsigmond Snake Race (4K)
  • Oct 22: Head of the Charles (5K) (If I get in the lottery)
  • Nov 5: Merrimack Chase (5K)

I need to put together a more formal training plan, but for now, I will be focusing on aerobic base.  Lot’s of 2mmol rowing.  It’s also time for some video and RIM feedback.